DEVIL’S REIGN: SUPERIOR FOUR # 1 (REVIEW)

Jan 12, 2022

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Dr. Otto Octavius knows what he had now that it is gone. Once able to claim he was “Superior” he is unable to shake the experience. Recent events in New York city have led to a Devil’s Reign. Writer Zac Thompson along with artists Davide Tinto and Matt Milla deliver Octavius’ quest to reclaim what he lost. However it will take another Marvel teams headquarters and even their winning strategy to accomplish it.

Devil’s Reign: Superior Four # 1

Marvel Comics

Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Davide Tinto
Color Artist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher

The issue opens with an origin story for four young Otto’s. In each lifetime there is torment and even assault that he receives from those who wish to be make him feel inferior. Each one represents a variant that would go on to be that Earth’s Dr. Octopus or Octo-Hulk I guess. Immediately you can notice the similarities to the origins of the hero each Otto is. It helps that in these early pages and throughout the issue Tinto and Milla establish their ability to capture these variants. Their versions of the characters both establish the Otto connection while remaining true to the original individuals/hero representation.

The initial plan Otto presents highlights how maddening the multiverse can become. For every version of an individual there has to be a version of them that is every other individual they aren’t, etc, etc. With that said, Thompson utilizes the trending concept successfully. With the discovery of the Bridge, Mr. Fantastic’s multiversal doorway, Otto has the technology at his disposal for what he believes will be his return to his former glory. With Reed’s device Otto is able to summon three other variants of himself. Acting out the role he is hoping to reclaim 616’s Otto joins the other to re-envision this lineup of the famous family. Yet another example of the “fantastic” job Thompsons blending the for lack of a better term…universes of the Spider-Man and Fantastic Four.

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One of the more interesting takes on the Fantastic Four is that team comprised of the spider, the spirit, the mutant and the monster. This team first debuted in Fantastic Four # 347 (1961) while being manipulated by a Skrull. While they do work on teams, some more often than others, Wolverine, Hulk, Ghost Rider and Spider-Man are solo acts. However, over the years this team has been utilized in the absence of the traditional team with success. Even recently Franklin and Valeria used some trickery to create this lineup during the Empyre crossover. Now the Baxter Building is in possession of Doctor Otto Octavius, thanks to Fisk who holds the city in his grip. With Reed Richards technology at his disposal writer Zac Thompson provides Otto with a path for his return to Superiority. He will just need a little help from….himselves.

Otto’s intends to use The Bridge to locate and recruit all other universes versions of himself. He then intends to create a Council of Otto’s (a nod to a Fantastic Four plot). Their first recruitment results in an attack which renders Octavius’ arms useless. Deciding against a council he goes with consolidation , concluding that singularity is the solution. With that the Superior Four set out to destroy any other Otto. I have to wonder how this plan plays out for the other three versions of Otto down the road.

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If you read the solicits this comic could sound weird bordering on gimmicky. More often than not a character gets used in story because they weren’t being used elsewhere. That is far from the case here. If the comparison between Otto and a member of the Four’s extended cast didn’t exist before today, it does now. It will be interesting to read how Otto fares against one of him who will always view him as “Inferior”. Good thing he has a team of him now. Because in order to get back being “Superior” he will first have to be “Fantastic”.

Score: 8.8

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